It’s been quite a busy week filled with plenty of homework and a long bus/train ride between home and SLO; I’ve been so caught up in my work that I tend to lose track of time. Before I knew it, time for another Friday post.
Have you ever had that happen? That feeling of being excited or so invested in something that you lose track of time and little details, getting lost in whatever it is instead. I do that a lot when I’m writing or working on a good piece of artwork.
It can also happen with people. Because last week I talked about dating and how there are so many different ways to meet people nowadays—for all we know, we could meet someone on an app and never actually meet in person for weeks. That’s how some people end up falling for what or who they think someone is. After all, we just want the best for ourselves. Sometimes though, that want can come with a little tunnel vision.
And when it comes to dating, such tunnel vision can be a dangerous thing for all of us.
Let’s say two people decide to finally meet up in a public place and get to know each other. So they make a date and get to see one another face to face.
Now picture this: both people are having a good time, drinking lightly and just talking for a while. Once the initial nerves start to fade and they settle in a bit more, laughter gets a little louder and their faces flush because maybe they realized they’re enjoying themselves together. So one of them asks if their partner wants another drink, you know, can’t hurt to ask and everyone should be comfortable right? But the question is answered with a “no” and a smile; it’s shrugged off and diverted into another conversation topic for maybe the next ten minutes.
Then they ask again, “drink?”
Again, “no, thank you though. Not trying to drink too much.” Nervous laughing to try to keep the atmosphere light, but it’s a first date so that can be hard to do.
It was only by the third time of hearing the same question within fifteen minutes that things were beginning to click. But it didn’t make sense, they had talked about boundaries together and comfortability way before the date. Everything was set. And this person was funny, they were kind despite a few awkward moments of weirdness between them both.
So why would—
Cue the very large red flag thrown off in one of their heads, thinking that maybe it was time to go home. Alone.
So in just a few minutes, that’s exactly what they did. Politely and kindly, but firmly stating that they were leaving before making their exit.
It was only a couple blocks away did they finally take a deep breath, glad to be out of that situation. But what would have happened if the tunnel vision they had going into the date didn’t fade until after the first several drinks… What if they only noticed the weirdness a bit too late?
Because I have a lot of smart, incredible, wonderful friends. And lucky for me, last week one of them followed their gut and left this date before anything went farther than weird and uncomfortable. Maybe add pushy to that.
But they’re okay.
The part about this that isn’t okay though, the part that I hate, is the pit in my stomach when I know that some people aren’t okay. No matter what someone is wearing, no matter if a mind was changed, and no matter if boundaries were set, things happen.
Of course they do, when some people enjoy crossing those boundaries or taking advantage of other people. As much as I wish it weren’t the case, it is something we have to look out for and the older I get, the more I understand why.
In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter your gender or age, your confidence or your choice of place—you have to look out for yourself as the only priority in these situations. Tell someone where you’re going, check in on your friends. Keep an eye on your drinks (though this does not excuse a lack of affirmative consent), meet in public places, use your voice. And use the people around you too.
Because sometimes, it helps not to be a bystander in your life and other people’s. If something feels weird, figure out why. If someone seems too drunk to leave with their date, give it a quick check or tell someone else who can. After all, it isn’t hard to get caught up in someone or something, what you think it may be; just don’t get so caught up that you lose your grip on reality too.
Reality is your truth and well, truth can be pretty powerful if you pay attention to it. So look around, for the good moments and the bad ones because there is a time and place for everything, including carelessness. Look out for yourself and those around you too, wherever you’re at, stay safe. All of you deserve that much.